All of us have been there – witnessing women in sheer, sleeveless dresses on a night out where the temperature calls for hot chocolate and cozy sweaters. We all wondered how women don’t get cold on a night on the town.
As temperatures continue to drop with the turn of the season, most people are opting for their thick coats, scarves and high boots to keep them warm.
Yet, nightclub scenes tell a different story. A quick look at long Soho queues on a Friday night and snowy Newcastle weekends reveal that many women are still choosing to endure the icy winds in short wear.
Okay, but aren’t they cold?
While the question has long boggled the minds of onlookers to this phenomenon as to why women don’t get cold at night, with all sorts of theories being passed around, it seems like science has finally given us the answers we’ve longed for.
A study published in the British Journal of Social Psychology titled “When looking ‘hot’ means not feeling cold: Evidence that self-objectification inhibits feelings of being cold” claims to have cracked the code to keeping warm on a night out. Here’s a hint: it doesn’t involve wearing a jacket.
The study states:
“We predicted that for women low in self-objectification, there would be a positive relationship between skin exposure and feeling cold, but for women higher in self-objectification this relationship would not be observed.”
Short dresses and cold temperatures are the modern version of corsets
The theory didn’t come from thin air. As the study notes, previous research into the painful fashion trends women have endured for centuries shows how discomfort for the sake of fashion has long been an ongoing phenomenon.
“From corsets to shapewear, from foot binding to stilettos, standards for women’s appearance have prioritized beauty over comfort.”
This can be easily translated in today’s culture through females who embrace the concept of wearing fewer clothes, while not giving a single damn about the freezing temperatures. It seems like researchers were well familiar with this phenomenon, and wanted to figure out the psychological reasons behind it.
For five weekend nights during the chilly month of February, the study’s researchers explored the nightlife hotspots in the USA. They surveyed 224 women to get first-hand information about why women don’t get cold on a night out.
Average temperatures on the nights of the surveys were around 11℃, with the lowest being 7.78℃ and the highest being 14.44℃.
Beauty vs. comfort
The surveys included questions regarding their self-perception about their looks, how cold they felt, how many drinks they had consumed at that point, as well as other questions which explored the participants’ psychological and physical state.
Photographs were also taken to assess skin exposure, while a digital weather application was used to record the temperature at the time.
The final conclusion? The primary hypothesis was correct. Individuals higher in self-objectification were less likely to feel cold when wearing less clothing. On the other hand, those low in self-objectification showed a ‘normal’ relationship between skin exposure and perceptions of coldness. This might explain why some women don’t get cold on a night out.
Turns out that short dresses and crop tops on a night out might not be part of history’s uncomfortable fashion trends. Women aren’t just suffering through the cold for the sake of beauty after all – they’re probably just less perceptive to it.